Duke at UNC: The Hatfields and the McCoys

By Jeff Lippman - February 08, 2007

Or maybe you romantics prefer the Capulets and the Montague's?

Either way, this is college basketball's greatest rivalry. The men met last night with North Carolina pulling out the win at Duke. Here in sold out Carmichael Auditorium in Chapel Hill, the Duke women want to repay the favor.

It really doesn't get any better than this, the nation's best offense meets the nation's best defense. Something has got to give.

The story of the day is matchups.

These teams are jam-packed with talent and leading the way are All-American candidates, for Duke, Lindsay Harding and Abby Waner, and for North Carolina, point guard Ivory Latta and forward Erlana Larkins.

Larkins will have to bang down low with the nation's best shot blocker in Duke's Alison Bales. At 6-foot-7 Bales is a force inside and if she can stay under the hoop will routinely kick UNC shots all night.

The most intriguing matchup will be the two leaders. Duke's Harding vs. UNC's Latta. Harding is far and away the best defender in the country and has been known to frustrate some of the best scorers women's basketball has to offer--ie., Candace Parker of Tennessee.

This rivalry is magic, right down to playing on the same floor that His Airness, Michael Jordan, once played on.

The two remaining undefeated teams in the country--both at 24-0--like I said before, something has got to give.

It's No. 1 vs. No. 2. What is at stake? How about the right to be the ACC's best team, and if that isn't exciting enough, it is also a battle to be top-ranked team in the country.

Right now, that honor belongs to the Blue Devils, but Latta, Larkins and the Tar Heels want it bad.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 06:04 PM on February 08, 2007

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